The Coming Home Netweork International (4:21) — As a former atheist who became Catholic, one of the things that drew Nathaniel Hurd to the Church was its consistent teaching on the dignity of the human person. Not only did learning Church teaching on this question strengthen Nathaniel's intellectual formation on the sanctity of life, it also challenged him; how would he implement this reverence for all people as made in the image of God on a personal level in his everyday life?
Created in the image and likeness of God
The Feast of Christ the King provides an occasion for a reflection on the dignity of human persons. If the fullness of majesty and power has been conferred on Jesus of Nazareth because of his obedience to the heavenly Father, then surely those persons who share in the same humanity within which Christ lived are doubly blessed with dignity and sacredness. Every human being, just because of the fact that he/she shares in the human condition, has been elevated to a new level of dignity by reason of the incarnation of the Word in the human flesh.
Humans are made in the image and likeness of God, according to the Genesis account. The Lord God breathed the very life of God into the nostrils of the man, making him/her to live of the Spirit. Having made the human couple, God pronounced them to be “very good,” indicating a special and unique relationship between humans and God. God provided an abiding dignity to all that is human, a dignity that could not be wiped away even by the sin of the first human. The Catholic tradition holds that human nature was tainted,not corrupted,by Original Sin.
When the Son of God became a man, one of us, one among us, the flesh of humans received a special dignity not heretofore conferred on men and women. The mystery of the Incarnation speaks not only about God’s love for Jesus of Nazareth but proclaims loudly and clearly God’s love for all persons on earth. If God has so exalted the human person, shall we not acknowledge the sacredness and holiness of human beings of every condition on the face of the earth?
In the Catholic tradition, sin does not alter the innate value of the human person. God loved us when we were still in sin. “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life” (John 3:16).